It’s not all the times that President Buhari is right or does the right things, especially with his picks for official positions. Sometimes he’s wrong. It’s either recycling the same tried and failed hands or giving jobs to cronies at the expense of the country. But, on Rasheed Bawa, the President is right just like he was right in his appointment of Retired General M B Marwa as the Chairman/ Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA. Since Marwa’s resumption at the head of NDLEA , things have begun to look up and the agency is in the news again for all the good reasons. I expect similar positive results from EFCC under Bawa’s leadership.
The EFCC Chairman without doubt is among the most influential position in the country. I commend the president for picking Abdulrasheed Bawa as the new Chairman of the Commission. At 40 years, Bawa is a youth with lots of future ahead of him. The responsibility placed on him by this new assignment is huge. He can save the country and preserve the future by doing the right things, especially if he does not allow himself to be carried away by the sound of the siren and peck of office. He must not allow himself to be consumed by the lust for power and wealth. He must shun partisanship or allow himself to be used and manipulated by corrupt public officers and politicians. He must understand that he is neither the Chairman of APC nor of PDP but of EFCC . His service is neither for the North nor for the South, neither of Muslims nor of Christians. His service is to the nation and his loyalty is to the constitution.
President Buhari among other factors was elected president because the people trusted he will fight like hell to curb corruption and general insecurity. So far, he has been conquered by insecurity , but still eager to give the anti-corruption war another kick hence he is introducing Bawa -a man with youthful vigor to lead the charge. Fighting corruption can be dangerous. When you fight corruption, it fights back and if you are not fit enough , corruption wins leaving you with a bloody nose. Bawa cannot afford to fail. His success will be our collective dreams come true.
Corruption as a canker, has eaten deep into the fabrics of Nigeria, to the extent that fighting it has become the most difficult, risky and controversial assignment anyone can take. Pilfering potentates and their cronies, that are thriving in the cesspool of corruption and unmitigated malfeasance, will always frustrate any effort to checkmate their voracity for cupidity. Therefore, curbing this menace of graft in the country, needs not only impeccable integrity, strength of character, intellectual prowess—but very importantly—physical energy to absorb the crippling pressures that comes with the job.
I am excited that in clear departure from his gerontocratic pattern of appointments, President Muhammadu Buhari took many Nigerians, including myself by surprise when he nominated 40-year old Abdulrasheed Bawa as substantive chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). This happened when the anti-graft body was already hopscotching and fiddling, owing to the fog of uncertainty created by the probe of Ibrahim Magu over some dirty sleaze; Magu was the erstwhile chairman of the Commission. The emergence of this young detective as anti-corruption czar, certainly generated interest and resonated very well with the youth constituency, of which constitute greater percentage of Nigeria’s rising population.
I have no doubt that Bawa is prepared for this job going buy his profile. Being the first non-police officer to chair the Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa will certainly ignite a reformative paradigm shift in the mode of operation of the EFCC. Some Nigerians see the anti-graft organization as one that flourish more on propaganda than discreet cum investigative trials. While I agree that the anti-corruption war require media showmanship, we must not replace thorough investigation with media trial. A situation where you arrest and parade a suspect in the media before real investigation, is more of a circus drama to entertain the public, than fighting corruption.
The president is not my enemy. When he does good, I will commend him and if he does bad ,I will call him out, deep inside me I wish him success and want him to succeed. I have to commend him for making the anti-graft Commission a youth-driven one, by choosing Abdul Rasheed Bawa as the new helmsman. We really need a generational shift in most aspects of our national leadership. There is a saying that you cannot do the same thing repeatedly and expect different reasons, because muddied thinking brings muddied results. A new philosophy anchored on strong ideology, is needed to inject life in the wobbling anti-corruption war, especially now that the perception of the Commission nosedived in the eyes of Nigerians.
The controversy generated by the probe of Ibrahim Magu, coupled with its turbulent tenure in office, grossly effected the image of EFCC. The Commission had bad run of stories in the media. When the honcho of anti-graft body like EFCC is openly accused of corruption and abuse of office, it erodes the confidence in that entity. The Commission lost the moral impetus to sustain the war on corruption, when its leadership became enmeshed in weighty allegations of corruption. These allegations did not just originate from beer parlor gossip, but from a sister government agency—DSS, of which was instrumental in preventing Ibrahim Magu’s confirmation as substantive Chairman.
A typical case of the hunter becoming the hunted. An institution spearheading anti-graft campaign, should be above board and not found wanting. Abdulrasheed Bawa should be aware that he is about to thread where angels are afraid to dare. Fighting corruption in Africa where there are strongmen and weak institutions, is tantamount to swimming in crocodiles-infested river. It is not a job for the faint-hearted. Firstly, his greatest sabotage will come from within—from those who want to sustain the old order of compromise.
Bawa’s main assignment in EFCC will be to inculcate new culture of integrity and passionate commitment to duty. If you’re embarking on a war, as a leader, you have to be more concerned on how dedicated your foot-soldiers are, to the collective goal of the team because a divided army never wins a battle. As youngest boss of the Commission, he will be representing the entire Nigerian youth demography in carrying out his duties. If he fails, it may affect the chance of another youth succeeding him, or even heading another strategic institution as EFCC.
But if he excels, of which I am optimistic he will, it will be a huge plus on the clamor for youthful leadership in Nigeria. The appointment of Bawa did not stimulate my interest solely because of his age and non-police background alone, but his professional antecedent as an investigator. In his sixteen-year run as a staff of the Commission, he has been able to distinguish himself.
He manned strategic two zonal offices of EFCC: Port Harcourt and Lagos. As the head of zonal office in Rivers State, he shepherded many high profile prosecutions were he got 215 convictions in 11 months. This is indeed reassuring that he will deliver in the new portfolio as EFCC boss. On this note, I congratulate the new Czar and wish him the best of lucks on his new job
By Clem Aguiyi
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